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  JFH 5-Star Review

...In Shallow Seas We Sail

Artist Info: Discography
Album length: 14 tracks: 44 minutes, 22 seconds
Street Date: June 2, 2009

It all started back in 2004 when I was introduced to Emery with their debut, The Weak's End. They were the epitome of emo-core filled with heart-wrenching screams, extremely moving lyrics, and an unforgettable live show. And it seems to just keep getting better with the addition of their latest release, ...In Shallow Seas We Sail.

The album blasts open the doors with "Cutthroat Collapse," which is classic Emery - nothing but hard growls blended with lovely melodies and lyrics as meaningful as they come. It's a great listen and gets you ready for what's to come. As always, the band sends a strong message to the listener. "Inside Our Skin" reminds believers to not just be happy in life, but to do the Lord's will, while "A Sin To Hold On To" focuses on making the right choices no matter how hard that may be. Also, "Open Hands, Closed Eyes," a track with a club/pop feel to it (which comes out nicely) sings of the depravity of people using material possessions to make themselves feel good.

Another thing that Emery does well is tell the tales of boys, girls, and relationships. "Curbside Goodbye" and "Piggy Bank Lies" follow that trend beautifully. The former talks about a break-up situation while the latter is about catching the girl who's been caught cheating. The characteristic meaningful lyrics are ever present, such as "This is where you say it's not what it looks like" and "But sometimes you find that you cannot control your heart or regain the person that you were from the start." That being said, "I've Got A Way" takes the cake in the dealing with relationships department of the album. Risks are taken musically, the words put you right at the scene, and it comes off with a touch of a radio-friendly vibe which makes it the best listen on ...In Shallow Seas We Sail.

Emery takes the tiniest of footsteps when it comes to musical change with a few violins on "Twelve & Fading" and a rhythmic blending of both Toby and Devin's vocals in a catchy way on "The Poor & The Prevalent." Plus, the addition of the two best tracks from last year's EP make this a complete listen. And while there is not a lot here that you wouldn't find on some previous Emery albums, this just does it all a little bit better. Most of the tracks are lyrically moving while still remaining catchy, a difficult feat to accomplish. And with lyrics like "I've got this big hole in my heart - I wanted to put you in, but for some reason you just wouldn't fit" how could you not enjoy it? Emery is a stellar band and ...In Shallow Seas We Sail puts them into a category of their own.

- Review date: 5/28/09, written by Kevin Hoskins of


JFH Staff's Second Opinion

While Broken Hearts Prevail was last year's appetizer from emocore masterminds Emery. ...In Shallow Seas We Sail serves as the main course, with a generous number of songs. Fans that were lost when I'm Only A Man was released may find much more to like about this offering, as there are times where it's noticeably more like The Weak's End or the well-loved The Question. Yet, it still maintains a good amount of the slight style-change of I'm Only A Man. Another change, albeit much more subtle, is that there are a couple of instances where the lyrics focus on something different than the sad or depressed lyrics that usually accompany an Emery album. "A Sin To Hold On To" features lyrics like "I know you've got it in you, won't you let it out? Dig a little deeper and I know you'll find strength inside, if we could be the ones to hold on (to stay strong), then maybe we can make a difference in somebody's life." And "Inside Our Skin" briefly touches on God's goodness versus man's imperfection (first with "If God is good, then what are we? There is no plant without a seed," followed by "You say you're good, then let me see, a faith is dead without the deed.") Although not completely absent from their lyrics (as evidenced in The Question's "Listening To Freddie Mercury"), it's definitely a rarity in Emery songs. Altogether, the lyrics are nothing less than beautifully-written, and the music is, of course, some of the best in the genre (and even contains some hardcore vibes - including double bass - in "The Butcher's Mouth"). Another amazing follow-up for these Tooth & Nail favorites. - Scott Fryberger


. Record Label: Tooth & Nail Records
. Album length: 14 tracks: 44 minutes, 22 seconds
. Street Date: June 2, 2009
. Buy It:
. Buy It: iTunes

  1. Cutthroat Collapse (3:24)
  2. Curbside Goodbyes (4:04)
  3. Inside Our Skin (3:14)
  4. Churches and Serial Killers (2:55)
  5. Butcher's Mouth (3:15)
  6. In Shallow Seas We Sail (3:38)
  7. The Poor And The Prevalent (3:06)
  8. The Smile, The Face (2:42)
  9. A Sin To Hold On To (2:48)
  10. Piggy Bank Lies (3:22)
  11. Edge Of The World (3:52)
  12. Dear Death Pt. 1 (1:40)
  13. Dear Death Pt. 2 (3:10)
  14. Open Hands, Closed Eyes (3:13)
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